Resetting a Dell TB16 Thunderbolt dock

I have a TB16 Thunderbolt dock to act as a hub for my screens, internet, camera, and so on.

This afternoon I came back from a meeting and my computer was hibernating and the doc was dead: no power light, no light on the thunderbolt cable, no response to commands, and no screen, sound, or internet pass through.

Looked through the Dell troubleshooting guide and found nothing.

In a chat with a tech, they told me how to reset the dock (I don’t see this anywhere obvious on the Dell site):

  1. Unplug the dock from power and from the computer
  2. Hold the power button on the dock down for 45 seconds
  3. plug everything back in
  4. Read the rest of this entry »

Fixing sensitive mouse on Dell XPS 13 9370 “Developer Edition” (i.e. Ubuntu 18.04 OEM)

I was having trouble with the mouse being too sensitive on my touchpad. After googling around I found this Dell page. I’ve followed the instructions (it was last updated Feb 2019), with the following changes and modifications:

  1. substituting 18.04 for 16.04 in all kernal and file names (e.g. in Step 3);
  2. substituting 51- for * in Step 5 iii in the file name sudo gedit /usr/share/x11/xorg.conf. Read the rest of this entry »

How to accept an invitation to a SSHRC application (Partnership Grant 2019)

This is a quick guide for my non-Canadian partners on how to accept an invitation to participate in a SSHRC application.

  1. Look for invitation from SSHRC in your inbox
    1. You will need the highlighted invitation number later.
    2. First click on the login/register link and set up your account with SSHRC or log in (if you already have one).
    3. If you are setting up a new account, keep the password memorable: it is difficult to get a reminder if you forget.
  2. After you have registered and confirmed your registration (SSHRC sends an email to confirm), you need to sign in using your SSHRC user name and password (i. Read the rest of this entry »

Recovery key for Dell XPS 13 OEM Ubuntu (Developer edition)

Just bought a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with OEM Ubuntu (18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver) installed.

As I was setting the computer up for the first use, it asked me if I wanted to create a recovery key (i.e. disk or USB), but indicated that you could also do this later. I didn’t have a USB key with me, so I skipped the step.

Once I got set up, however, I wasn’t able to see where I could access the utility to make the recovery disk. I thought the dialogue during set up had said the Ubuntu app store, and various Dell sites seemed to indicate either the app store or launchpad. Read the rest of this entry »


Conway’s Law and Open Science: Why it feels like something’s fundamentally not right

Some very quick notes on some reading I’ve been doing today on Conway’s law

The law basically has to do with the way organisational structures reflect themselves in the products they produce (also known as “mirroring”). So, to give a common example, corporate websites usually reflect the interests and organisational structures of the corporation rather than the information needs of the website visitor: a statement from the president welcoming you (who ever goes to a website for that?), tasks and locations grouped by reporting line rather than relevance to topic or user, and so on (Nielsen also makes this point in Designing Web Usability).

There are many different formulations of this law, ranging from the very software-specific to the very general. One interesting one, however, is in Coplien and Harrison’s Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development:

If the parts of an organization—such as teams, departments, or subdivisions—do not closely reflect the Read the rest of this entry »


English 204: History and Future of the Book

About English 204: History and Future of the Book

The calendar describes English 204 as

[a]n introductory history of the concept and technology of the book. The course focuses on the development of the book as a vehicle of communication and on its ideological and political impact, with some attention to the emergence and consequences of digital platforms such as e-mail, the web, and electronic books.

As we will see, “book” in this description is a kind of synecdoche (a use of the part for the whole). What we really mean by “book” is “public communication”: literature (fiction and non-fiction), science, history, news, letters and contracts, even, in some contexts at least, Social Media posts and hastags (we will define what we mean by some of these terms in our first few classes). While much of the course will be concerned with books in the usual sense of the word, we will also be looking at some of these other forms of communication, including oral poetry, the role of tradition Read the rest of this entry »


Finding files modified within a specific time period

I had been working experimentally on a file a couple of days ago and forgot to change the name to something meaningful. I remembered roughly when I was working on it and would recognise the name and context when I saw it (probably). But the problem is how to you find the relevant files? Stackoverflow to the rescue (as always), with a bit of man find:

find /home/dan/ -name *.xml -mtime -2 -ls |more

It’s all pretty self explanatory except the -mtime -2: the utility, the start directory, any restrictions on the file name (you want to use this if you are searching a home directory: I have 10k+ files, it looked like before I added it, given all the cache files from the web browsers), the time period in days (-mtime), and a ls-style display. |more is a pipe that allows you to look at the output in segments if there is more than a screen’s worth.

-mtime is the only funny bit: it searches back the number of days expressed by its value. If the value is positive, it searches bac Read the rest of this entry »

Using Zenodo as a personal repository

More and more academics are using services like academia.edu and researchgate as personal repositories. This is in part a way of ensuring your research gets wide exposure (and hence is more available for citation). But it is also part of an increasing sense among academics that one “ought” to put off-prints and pre-prints of research “out there” for others to find. This is being encouraged by Open Access mandates that encourage or require researchers to post copies of their work (i.e. so-called “Green Open Access”), either in last manuscript version or as soon as the embargo period is over at the journal of record.

As the University of California Office of Scholarly Communication points out, however, Academia.edu and ResearchGate are not really Open Access repositories: they are social networking sites for academics that use offprints the way Facebook uses pictures of your family—as a way of getting friends and colleagues to come to the site and click around. Read the rest of this entry »


Round up of citations of the Lethbridge Journal Incubator

The Journal Incubator is getting on about 5 years, now. In that time, it’s been the subject of a number of mentions in various contexts: from articles by students and faculty associated with the Incubator, to passing notices of our talks or use of our CC-Licensed material.

Here’s a list of 12 references (excluding conference presentations) I’ve recently come up with:

Borchard, Laurie, Michael Biondo, Stephen Kutay, David Morck, and Andrew Philip Weiss. 2015. “Making Journals Accessible Front & Back: Examining Open Journal Systems at CSU Northridge.” OCLC Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives 31 (1): 35–50. https://doi.org/10. Read the rest of this entry »


Round up of citations of the Lethbridge Journal Incubator

The Journal Incubator is getting on about 5 years, now. In that time, it’s been the subject of a number of mentions in various contexts: from articles by students and faculty associated with the Incubator, to passing notices of our talks or use of our CC-Licensed material.

Here’s a list of 12 references (excluding conference presentations) I’ve recently come up with:

Borchard, Laurie, Michael Biondo, Stephen Kutay, David Morck, and Andrew Philip Weiss. 2015. “Making Journals Accessible Front & Back: Examining Open Journal Systems at CSU Northridge.” OCLC Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives 31 (1): 35–50. https://doi.org/10. Read the rest of this entry »


Finding and replacing text in multiple files from BASH

A problem I’ve had lately has been how to find and replace text in multiple files from the command line. Since I keep googling the answer, here’s a post to remind me. It is based on this page: https://superuser.com/questions/428493/how-can-i-do-a-recursive-find-and-replace-from-the-command-line

find . -type f -name "*.txt" -print0 | xargs -0 sed -i'' -e 's/foo/bar/g'

Note that unlike the source, I have -i'' rather than -i ''. This seems to required on a *nixes.

I also discovered (mostly ‘cause I’m not good at regular expressions, I suspect), that if you are searching and adding things in < and > that you need to escape everything except the first and the last < and >. Read the rest of this entry »


Finding and moving off screen applications in Gnome 3/Ubuntu 17.10

I have a strange problem in the gnew gnome windows manager that ships with Ubuntu 17.10: on my three-monitor desktop, application windows occasionally open off screen. I.e. in the following screen shot, they open partially or entirely in the space marked “invisible window” to the left or right of the tall window.

To make matters worse, applications that open like this do it all the time. I.e. Read the rest of this entry »


Talkin’ ’bout my g- g- greatest generation? The Long November (Nablo, 1946)

The Long November is a novel about World War II by Canadian author James Benson Nablo.

The basic plot is that Joey Mack, a not-quite-so-young canadian soldier is reflecting on his life while lying wounded in Italy. His life runs from rum-running in the 1920s through mining, the depression, and then the war. The leitmotif in all his thought is Steffi, the young girl from a rich family of whose affection he has spent his life trying to deserve.

The novel really isn’t that well written. Or rather it is somewhat pretentiously written as a long first person interior monologue. But it is remarkable as a corrective on post-war “Greatest Generation” approaches to the WWII generation. Read the rest of this entry »


An interesting issue with the *nix ls command, or, why you should never begin a filename with a hyphen

In which I discover an odd error using ls and learn how to solve it.


How to fix tables that run off the page in Google Docs

Here’s a problem I wasn’t able to find a solution online to…

The Problem

Sometimes, when you import a document into Google Doc from a different wordprocessor, you can end up with the problem that the table is wider than the page. The following is an example:

The problem is that there is nothing to grab on the top ribbon to pull the edge of the table back. If the problem was the internal alignment of the columns, then you could use a slider in the ribbon bar:

But since there isn’t one, then there’s nothing to grab.

The solution

The solution is to go to Table>Table Properties and then uncheck the column width button. Read the rest of this entry »


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